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Parents: For Back-to-School Shopping, Do Your Homework

  • NewsUSA@NewsUSA.com (NewsUSA)
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(NewsUSA) - Once again, millions of parents and kids are hitting stores for the annual back-to-school shopping season, complete with long lines and even longer receipts. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), the average person spent about $603 on everything from school supplies and apparel to electronics and footwear for back-to-school last year.

The NRF also cites a BIGinsight study that found that 80.4 percent of people with school-aged children say the economy will impact their spending plans this year. For parents, finding ways to cut corners on back-to-school spending can be challenging, but there are simple, easy-to-follow ways to reduce the impact on your wallet.

Make a list of what you actually need

To get started, combine lists your kids' school has provided, including classroom supplies, gym clothes and extracurricular needs. Then, take inventory of what is still useable from last year, including pens, pencils, highlighters, erasers, soccer shin guards and other equipment.

The resources for saving on school supplies are many, and the key is to find ways that work best for you. From shopping online to taking advantage of post-back-to-school clearance or "off-season" sales, knowing what you need and where to look for deals will help you save.

Share the wealth

Now that you have a solid plan, share what you learned with your kids. Learning about money, budgeting and saving is a lifelong journey, so use the back-to-school planning and shopping experience as an opportunity to start your child's financial development.

While school teachers take on the responsibility to educate children about math, science, language, history, etc., financial literacy is not a mandatory in-school curriculum in all states.

Some companies, like TD Bank, offer free financial literacy classes in schools and online. TD Bank's WOW!Zone (www.tdbank.com/wowzone) provides online courses, games and parent and teacher curriculum guides to financial literacy lessons for grades K-12.

Using available resources, such as the WOW!Zone, along with discussions about back-to-school budgeting and finances, not only helps your children understand why saving money is important, but also teaches them how to get started on a path to financial success.

Matt Chevalier is Senior Vice President, Retail Sales Strategy Group for TD Bank and manages the company's Retail Sales Metrics and Reporting, Fee Business Growth Support, Retail Sales Programs and Sales Planning & Execution team.